Victoria City Council are trying to get the public opinion on a significant salary increase. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Municipal watchdog calls Victoria councillors’ request for salary increase ‘boneheaded’

Grumpy Taxpayer$ wish to see reductions in councillor wages to meet local average

Local municipal watchdogs say Victoria city councillors are approaching things backwards when it comes to their salaries.

In an online survey regarding the 2020 city budget, councillors posed a question asking the public to support a 55 per cent salary increase for councillors in order to meet the median income of a city employee. This would bring their salaries up from around $43,000 plus benefits, to $70,100.

The Grumpy Taxpayer$, however think councillors should see a five per cent reduction in order to match the median total income of the Metropolitan Area of Victoria in 2017, which sat at $40,500.

READ MORE: Victoria councillors ask taxpayers for opinions on 55 per cent wage increase

“I think this request is stunningly insensitive to the average worker out there trying to make a living, or the people that are increasingly striking on the strike line,” said Stan Bartlett, chair of the Grumpy Taxpayer$. “Quite frankly it’s a goofy and boneheaded move that’s unacceptable.”

Many councillors also sit as members of other boards with salaries, including on the Capital Regional District (CRD) board, and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. Through these roles, councillors also receive payment well as payment for travel, per diems, and when they take on additional roles (such as the acting mayor).

“It sends out a dreadful message to the rest of the municipalities in the region,” Bartlett said. “In total there are around 93 politicians out there that need to be paid and you can be sure they’ll line up for major pay hikes if they see a major raise.”

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt told Black Press Media that the request for a raise comes forward after a freeze on raises since 2008.

ALSO READ: Saanich council votes for salary increase

“It’s impossible to have other ordinary outside employment,” he said, adding that he’s in the role from 40-50 hours per week. “We have daytime meetings, emails, participate in local events, and deal with communications arising.”

In a release, the Grumpy Taxpayer$ argued that if councillors felt their workload was too much, they could reduce their scope of reach. The councillor position is provincially defined as a part-time service to the public.

“Maybe council is too involved in the micro managing of the city and are removing accountability from the professional staff who were hired for that purpose,” the release reads. “If the workload is too much, maybe council should focus on core responsibilities instead of wandering aimlessly to issues outside their mandate and jurisdiction.”

The 2020 budget survey is available online at victoria.ca until Nov. 24.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

city councilCity of Victoriataxes

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich calls for applicants to join Housing Strategy task force

Council to appoint ‘diverse group’ to tackle housing challenges

B.C. ends short experiment with growler fills at restaurants

Province extends take-out sales of six-packs, wine

VicPD seeking witnesses for fatal crash on Hillside Avenue

A pedestrian was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she later died

North Saanich submits ALR exclusion despite large opposition

Opposed North Saanich residents now shift their attention to ALC after 6-1 council vote

Study suggests 8 times more people in B.C. infected with virus than confirmed

The study looked at anonymous blood samples collected for reasons unrelated to COVID-19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Commons finance committee to begin probing WE Charity’s volunteering contract

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has admitted he should have recused himself from the decision

Woman receives ‘extremely disturbing sexual threats’ while on Lower Mainland bus

The woman was riding the bus when she received threats of sexual violence from someone nearby

Victoria baseball club’s new Nanaimo rival team unveils NightOwls name

West Coast League baseball club will play ball under the lights next season

‘We’re not busting ghosts’: Northern B.C. paranormal investigators check out bistro

Paranormal North Coast British Columbia recently checked out PF Bistro at City Centre Mall.

Russian hackers seeking to steal COVID-19 vaccine data: intel agencies

It is believed APT29, also known as ‘the Dukes’ or ‘Cozy Bear’ was responsible

Twitter racing to unravel mystery cyberattack

Some of the world’s most prominent names had their Twitter accounts post invitations for an apparent Bitcoin scam

Most Read